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TITLE OF ASSIGNMENT Benefits of sawm


NAMES/MATRIC NO 1) Muhammad Radhi bin Abdul Razak (171641)

2) Syed Hijjas Marsalis Barakbah Bin Syed Mohd

Hadzim (173814)

3) Muhammad Firas bin Ahmad Fisol (171396)

PROGRAMME Architectural and Environmental Design (AED)


LECTURER’S NAME Miss Wan Afiqah binti Afandi

DATE SUBMITTED 11 August 2017


We certify that this assignment is entirely our own work, except where we have given
fully documented references to the work of others, and that the material in this
assignment has not previously been submitted for assessment in any formal course of
The topic of the summarised review that is going to be discussed is regarding the potential
health benefits that we could gain the most of in fasting and is based on the article ‘The Impact Of
Religious Fasting On Human Health’ by John F Trepanowski & Richard J Bloomer. Fasting refers
to incomplete or complete forebearance of the pratitioner from all foods or some foods, specifically
the prohibited ones, for a period of time. That said, in fasting, one must put their effort in a
willingful manner in achieving a successful and complete abstinence along the fasting period that
one partakes. From this, the more scientific investigations and findings take part, the more
convinced the people across the globe will be on religious fasts being our medium for gaining not
just spiritual but physical or perhaps even cognitive health benefits as well. For as far as accuracy
and consistency is concerned, the review excludes other forms of religious fasts except for the
specified ones, namely Ramadan, Nativity Fast, Lent, Assumption, and Daniel Fast, for these, to the
authors’ knowledge, are the ones that have been scholarly scrutinised thoroughly. There are three
most commonly studied fasts, which are caloric restriction (CR), alternate-day fasting (ADF), and
dietary restriction (DR), all of which are within the core findings of the studies from the review that
are to be discussed.
CR is lessening of calories in kilocalorie (kcal) unit in by the range of 20-40% of desired
consumption. Findings show that CR improves health and lengthen life span of different species
including nematode, rodent, rotifer, non-human primate. CR furthermore appears to be able to
hinder the beginning of some diseases whether cronic or non-chronic such as diabetes, cancer,
atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases. Concerning cardiovascular health, some of the changes
have that have been observed via CR regimen are declines in resting heart rate (HR) and blood
pressure (BP), increases in HR variability; and improvements flow-mediated widening of blood
vessels (vasodilation), which decreases blood pressure. ADF shifts two different 24-hour periods
day-to-day; during “feast period”, the period in which fasters may consume food to their own
desires, and during “fast period”, the period in which they aren’t allowed to consume anything
except water. Reports of the animal ADF tryouts pointed out preventive development of numerious
undesired morbidities some of which are cancers, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and
diabetes. Decreased HR and BP; and improved insulin sentivity in men are results regarding both
cardiovascular and glucoregulatory health respectively. DR substracts one or more components of
dietary intake (typically macronutrients) with minimum to no reduction in total kcal intake. In
findings from animal references, as opposed to carbohydrate and lipid restriction, protein restriction
affects life extension such that it increases maximal life span by around 20%. This review further
examines the effects of these specific fasts on energy and nutrient intake, anthropometry,
hematometry, blood pressure and other health related biomarkers.

Annually, millions of muslims holds back their ffod and drink consumption from sunrise
(sahur) to sunset (iftar) during 28 to 30 days of Ramadan. Thus, Ramadan fasting synonym to ADF
as both subsuned fast and feast period . Avarage of 12 hours long for each period in Ramadan
represents half of 24 hours length for both in ADF. Another slight contrast between the two form of
fasting is fluid intake is prohibited during the fast period of Ramadan ehile vice versa for ADF.
Consuming one heavy meal after sunset and lighter one before dawn is the frequent dietary
practice of Ramadan fasting. Furthermore, Muslim vary thier consumption of food during Ramadan
compare to rest of the year, where sugary meal are consumed persistantly. All healthy Muslim are
required to fulfill thier pillars of Islam as they reach puberty. There is an exemption for those who
are sick , travelling, pregnant, mensurating and breastfeeding. Islamic calender (Hijra) is a lunar
calender and usually Ramadan start 11 days in advance each year in relation to the Georgian
calender . Seasonal shifts of Ramadan surely vary amount of fasting period whitin range of 12 to 22
hours in different location . This phenomenon influence effect of Ramadan fasting on health-related
biomarker. Besides, somking, medication and cultural habits are other variable. Prohibition of
smoking in the day results cahnge in health-relate biomarkers simply by virtue of smoking less.
This latter apllied to other variable such as oral medication.
The majority findings related to energy and macronutrient intake during Ramadan fasting are made.
Similarly diverse finding exist regarding both saturated and unsaturated fat consumption during
Ramadan. Aside from macronutrients, vitamin and minerals are usually consumed in similar
amount. Same goes to sodium and fibre.
Collectively, the literature designate that dietary changes pertining to kcal intake, macro- and
micronutrient intake, in various period of Ramadhan. These contrast or lake of, may cause
inconsistency in health-realtedoutcome across the studies. Based on anthropometric variables, body
mass index (BMI) may decrease or not as a result of Ramadan fasting. Agreement are made
regarding blood count outcomes during Ramadan. As an example, atheletes haemoglobin level tend
to decrease in the first two weeks of Ramadan, however these levels returned normal after that. On
top of that, effect of Ramadan fasting on oxidative stress and antioxidant status are studied. As a
result, the subject s experienced an increase in blood levels of vitamin A and a decrease in Vitamin
E. Last but not least , the study on effect of Ramadhan fasting on blood pressure illustrates that
systolic pressure during steady-state aerobic exercise increaed during Ramadhan.
In a nutshell, there are many aspects that influence effect of Ramadan fasting to human bodies.
Including climate change, season and cultural practice in certain places all around the world. Some
place may experienced longer period of fasting. However consumption of ideal food with sufficient
could help body to blend with season during Ramadan.

Greek Orthodox Christians

Nativity fast, Lent, and Assumption fasting are 40 days, 48 days and 15 days respective to their
periods. Altogether, the Greek Orthodox Christians’ dietery consumption is restricted for 180-200
days anually. During fasting season, their predominant food on the whole includes bread, fruits,
nuts, seafood, snails and vegetables. Nativity, Lent and Assumption’s fasting regime differ by the
days on which or the duration in which fish and olive oil are prohibited; and on any other days,
fasters omit from dairy products, eggs and meat for all the three principal fasts; and for every
Wednesday and Friday that is beyond the bounds of their respective periods, fasters are to abstain
from cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, and olive oil except on the week following Christmas, Easter,
and the Pentecost. The Greek Orthodox Christian diet can be classified as a form of DR and as a of
During fasting periods, daily kcal may decrease. Debunking the common consensus that
carbohydrate increases and fat intake decreases in Greek Orthodox Christian fasts, The decrease
likelihood of relative intake of protein to carbohydrate is uncertain. Intake of total carbohydrate and
polysaturated fat remains the same while intake of total fat and protein; and of trans-fatty acid and
saturated fat declines. As opposed to magnesium, riboflavin and calcium declines, whereas intake of
other vitamins and minerals that seem to be fixed are Vitamin A, Thiamin, niacin, Vitamin C,
Vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Folate intake is found to be unchanged and increase
from two studies while sodium and Vitamin B12 intake may decrease. Meanwhile, Anthropometric
results signal the possible decrease in BMI, backed by an investigation of average body mass of
Greek Orthodox Christian monks. During fasting period, biochemical results denoted a decline of
total cholestrol and LDL-C levels and of TC\HDL-C ratio, an increase and unchanged levels of
HDL-C while levels of HDL-C\LDL-C ratio remain unchanged. Triglyceride levels incremented on
one study and were unaffected on another, while effects on glucose are uncertain. Fiber intake is
noted to increase on some researches but remain the same on another. Observations made by yet
another research are: a relative increase in serum ferritin levels and decrease in MCHC levels; no
changes in hemoglobin, serum iron and transferrin levels. Also, non-fasters’ final hematocrit levels
were higher, notwithstanding that their initial were lower than their counterpart. Opposing findings
on Greek Orthodox Christian fasting effects on blood pressure noted fasters’ systalic blood pressure
may increase and non-fasters’ diastalic blood pressure may decrease when both are compared. A
few negative results obtained from oxidative stress inspection are decrease of serum retinol and
serum 𝛼-tocopherol.

There are a few things to consider. First of all, in Greek Orthodox Christian fasting study, results
from which the information are generalised were conveyed to readers by collective rather than
seperative means, that is, without discretely taking accounts to Lent, Assumption and Nativity. This
further leads to flaws and inconsistency. Next, the results of levels or intake changes are often
informed irrespective to the faster and non-faster. Given that the faster and non-fasters’ are initial
conditions are obiviously opposing to one another; a clear, well divided and organised conveyance
of the results are crucial to ensure the comprehendability of readers, especially those of whom
without scientific backgrounds; towards the review. Finally, the main concern we have with the
conclusion of the study is what we call the selection bias. We are looking at a differentiated
population not an undifferentiated population, i.e, fasters and non-fasters. The conclusion that the
researchers drew is correct only for the population of that study. In other words, suppose if we were
to lessen the occurence of ‘confirmation bias’ among readers, researchers and society as whole, we
can’t leniently regard those of whom are involved in that study represent those of whom are not, at
least just yet.

A Biblical-based fast practiced by Christians derived from the Biblical story of Daniel
(1:8-14 NIV), in which Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and
requested permission to consume nothing but vegetables (pulse) and water for 10 days.
Afterwards,in the same book (Danial 10:2-3 NIV) it is followed by a 21 day period of fasting in
which he ate no choice food (meat or wine). Based on this, a modern day Daniel Fast involves ad
libitum intake of specific foods, which are restricted to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes,
nuts, seeds, and oil which resembles a vegan diet and yield health-enhancing properties.
Daniel fast is much more stringent than the Greek Orthodox Christian fasts although both
may be viewed as DR (Dietary Restriction). Unlike the Green Orthodox Christians Fast or a simple
vegetarian diet, refined foods,white flour, preservatives, additives, sweeteners, flavourings, caffeine,
and alcohol are each forbidden. Anecdotal reports and preliminary scientific study have indicated
excellence compliance due to individuals traditionally follow the Daniel fast for strict religious
purposes. The Daniel Fast is most commonly partaken for 21 days, although fast of 10 and 40 days
have been observed. Daniel fast can be partaken at any time of the year usually in January in order
to begin the New Year with fasting and prayer.
Men and women varying age (20-62 yrs) recently underwent a 21-day Daniel Fast test. Pre
and post intervention subjects went through a set of laboratory test to for the research purposes.
During the 21-day Daniel fast period, subjects also rated their compliance to the fast, as well as
their overall mood and satiety.
Excellent compliance (>98%), overall mood and satiety (7.9 + 0.2 using a 10 point scale) were
recorded . A reduction was noted in the following variables from the seven days before the first day
of fasting to the final seven days of fasting : total kcal, protein , total fat, trans fat, cholesterol,
saturated fat, carbohydrate, fibre and vitamin C.
Variables related to cardiovascular disease were significantly lowered compared to before the
fast such as total cholesterol, LDL-C, SBP and DBP. Next, Insulin, HOMA-IR, and C-reactive
protein were decrease to a certain extent but it failed to reach statistical significance. The same
result goes with the body weight and body fat, reduced, but no significant difference. Besides that,
drastic decrease in total cholesterol (approximately 19%) managed to lower the HDL-C compared
to before the fast and also a significant decrease was noted in MDA (manuscript in progress). Not
only that, a significant increase was noted in Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity and nitrate/
nitrite (a surrogate merker of nitric oxide) in regards to measures of blood antioxidant status and
oxidative stress.
These findings depicts the 21-day Daniel fast can significantly improve several markers of
overall health especially those related to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Future randomize
studies in a larger scale is needed to support these preliminary findings with the consideration of
extending the duration of fasting, modifying choices of food in order to maintain or improve HDL-
C levels.
From our perspective this article conveys a rather comprehensive amount of information about
the health effects of the stated religious fasting. In terms of facts, values and numbers, accuracy in
them are shown in this article and are the main merits of this article. The article is also
understandable for the majority and is not to lengthy. But there are still room for some
improvement. For an instance, although the message conveyed is understandable but the layout of
the article sometimes poses an issue for the readers to grasp the points in certain paragraphs. There
are points that can be combine into one solid point and can ease the flow of the reading. This would
increase the effectiveness of this article in conveying the message. Overall, I find this article highly
informative and hardwork can be seen in producing this article in order to educate the people about
the impact of religious fasting on human health in our daily live.

Conclusively, the religious fasts featured in this review emphasize the importance of quality
dietary intake in eliciting favourable effects on health. Both the Daniel Fast and the Greek Orthodox
Christian fasts are associated with many favourable effects on health outcomes despite the fact that
fasters can eat as much as they desire while Ramadhan fasting favorable health outcomes appears
to greatly depend on the food choices of the fasters while keeping the quantity of food in context .
From one point of view, these religious fasts reaffirm the position that one can improve his or her
diet without being compelled to reduce food intake.
Diet plays an integral role in the religious customs of a variety of faiths and majority of it is
manifested in the form of specialized fasting periods. Although religious fasting is often a time of
great spiritual growth, it can also be a time of great improvement to one’s physical health. This
article highlights the potential of different religious fasts as forms of dietary modification and its
impact on human health.